#PlanetPartners: Empowering communities to create sustainable futures
19 May 2021
Working closely with partners towards a net zero-carbon Reading and helping communities get involved in shaping their own neighbourhoods means the University of Reading is supporting efforts to create a more sustainable future for towns and cities across the world.
The University’s institutional and research efforts are underpinned by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are aimed at tackling societal and environmental challenges across the planet and are closely aligned with the University’s own strategy.
This May, the University of Reading is running a new #PlanetPartners campaign, inviting its entire community to share examples of work towards all the SDGs.
SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities encompasses making towns and cities around the world inclusive, safe, sustainable and resilient to pressures like climate change, now and in the future.
“Communities, the people that live in them, and business are all vital partners in tackling the impact of climate change locally and regionally." - Professor Tim Dixon, Reading 2050 lead, University of Reading
Examples of work by the University to address SDG11 include:
- Supporting Reading’s economic growth and evolution as a smart and sustainable city through the Reading 2050 project. Related work includes supporting Reading Borough Council with its roadmap towards a net zero-carbon Reading by 2030, and helping monitor air pollution in heavy traffic areas in Berkshire, to help develop solutions for cleaner air.
- Producing the first ever in-depth report on the health impacts of climate change in Reading, providing authorities with an overview of the main challenges facing people in the region.
- Researching ways to get more people involved in planning decisions for their neighbourhoods. Work at Henley Business School has looked at why participation in these decision remains low despite pledges by local authorities.
- Providing sustainable transport information for staff and students to help get cars off the roads and aid a greener future for Reading.
- Winning Green Flag Awards for our Whiteknights campus for 10 years running. These recognise the quality of the green space on the campus, which is open to the public as well as those working and studying on campus.
- Beginning work with Historic England, analysing climate risk to historic buildings and archaeological sites in England. This adds to work with communities in Iraq, Iran and Jordan to help create sustainable development and incomes for people based on their rich cultural heritage.
Professor Tim Dixon, from the University’s School of the Built Environment and the University’s lead on the Reading 2050 project, said: “Communities, the people that live in them, and business are all vital partners in tackling the impact of climate change locally and regionally.
“Through our work to support the Reading 2050 vision, the Reading Climate Change Emergency Strategy, and the ADEPT Thames Valley Berkshire Live Lab project, the University also plays a crucial role in what we might call a ‘quadruple helix’, working in partnership with people, industry and local government to bring innovative thinking to real world problems.”
The UN’s SDGs incorporate themes across the ‘five Ps’: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace and Partnership. These align with the University of Reading’s own strategic themes: Community, Excellence, Sustainability and Engagement.
This campaign follows the publication of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, in which Reading participated for the first time and ranked in the top 200 globally, which scored participating universities on their support of the individual SDGs.
The University’s latest campaign is a continuation of the #PlanetPartners campaign launched by the University in October 2019, which is highlighting ways the University is working with global partners on projects that benefit the environment.
Follow the campaign and share your examples of work on Twitter: @UniofReading | Facebook: /theuniversityofreading | Instagram: @uniofreading | LinkedIn: University of Reading | TikTok: @uniofreading using the hashtags #PlanetPartners and #sdgoals